State Representative Scott Dianda (D-Calumet) testified on behalf of House Bill 5204 today, legislation he introduced in December to require the Michigan Department of Transportation to first offer snow removal equipment for auction to local governments before offering it to the general public. The bill was introduced with 51 bipartisan co-sponsoring signatures, including the entire House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. Today, the legislation was taken up for testimony by the House Appropriations Committee, where Hancock City Manager Glenn Anderson, Baraga County road engineer Doug Mills, Houghton County road engineer Kevin Harju and Keweenaw County road engineer Gregg Patrick testified on its behalf.

“I am thrilled that this bill was taken up for testimony today in the House Appropriations Committee, and that several residents from my district were able to testify on its behalf via video conference,” said Dianda. “Giving the rights of first purchase on equipment that MDOT is ready to sell to local municipalities will be extremely helpful for those that are struggling to make do with modest budgets.”

Some local governments are currently using snow plows from the 1970s, while MDOT is auctioning off its more current equipment to the public through a site called MiBid, an internet bidding site much like eBay. This site makes it feasible and affordable to offer selected property to local governments before opening the bidding to the general public.

“I know that this bill will be extremely beneficial to local communities, especially those in the Upper Peninsula that see such enormous amounts of snow fall each winter,” Dianda said. “This legislation will ensure each municipality has a shot at securing reliable snow-removal equipment, and I am proud that it is moving forward in the Legislature.”

The bill was passed out of committee by a vote of 24 for, 0 against and one pass. It will now go to the full House for consideration.